2016-2017 Kitten Factory Toors Lite

Cy Whitling reviews the Kitten Factory Toors Light for Blister Gear Review

Kitten Factory Toors Light

2016-2017 Kitten Factory – Toors Lite, 184 cm

Available Lengths (cm): 184

Actual Tip-to-Tail Length (straight tape pull): 182.88 cm

Stated Dimensions (mm): 124-108-119

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 1601 & 1567 grams

Stated Sidecut Radius: 24.5 meters

Core Construction: Balsa/Flax core+ Carbon Stringers + Carbon Fiber laminate

Tip / Tail Splay (ski decambered): 62 mm / 32 mm

Traditional Camber Underfoot: ~3-4 mm

Recommended Line: 4 cm behind “ski center”; ~88.6 cm from tail

Mount Location: Recommended Line

Boots / Bindings: Fischer TransAlp & Travers Carbon / Dynafit Speed Turn

Test Location: Glacier National Park, MT; Teton Pass & Togwotee Pass, WY

Days Skied: 8

[Editor’s Note: This review was conducted on the 15/16 version of the Toors Lite, which returns unchanged for 16/17 except for graphics.]

Intro

Before I ever saw the Toors Lite in person, I have to admit that its name made me nod with approval. Then after checking them out at SIA, we were intrigued enough that we gave them a “Dying to Try It” award at the show.

Why?

Because companies are racing to make the lightest ski they can with the best possible downhill performance, the Toors Lite is another entry in this contest, and it is beating out a lot of the competition on weight. (For example, the Blizzard Zero G 108 weighs in at 1750 grams, and the Volkl V-Werks BMT 109 is a stated 1740 grams per ski.)

So if the Toors Lite is winning on weight, how does it perform on the downhill? We’ll get to that in a minute…

Construction

Kitten Factory has this to say about the Toors Lite’s construction: “The combination of our flyweight cores, straight carbon layup and toors tail technologies allow us to create a full sidewall, durable, touring specific ski that is unbelievably light.”

At 1601 and 1567 grams per ski, the Toors Lite definitely delivers on that “unbelievably light” promise.

Kitten Factory’s flyweight cores are a balsa / flax mix and they’re reinforced for binding retention. This means that straying far from the recommended mount point is a bad idea.

Cy Whilting reviews the Kitten Factory Toors Lite for Blister Gear Review

Cy Whitling on the Kitten Factory Toors Lite, Glacier National Park, MT. (photo by David Steele)

The “toors tail” just means that the tail is less splayed than the rest of their skis, and has a blunter shape to help with skin clip retention. I’m used to touring on full twin tip skis with G3’s skin clips, and rarely have any issues with them, but the flatter tail is easier to clip skins to, and probably shaves a little weight in the process as well.

Like many other brands, Kitten Factory doesn’t use full-wrap edges on the Toors Lite. I have yet to run into problems with this on any ski, and don’t expect to with these. It’s worth noting that while some brands (including the ON3P Steeple I’ve been using) do include a short portion of edge on the tail for the skin clip to rest on, the Toors does not. But once again, I don’t anticipate any real durability issues here.

While I haven’t had enough time or seen enough truly horrific conditions to make a full durability assessment, I have been impressed so far. Initially the Toors Lite’s low weight scared me, and I kept expecting the ski to explode on every impact. But after some interesting low-tide trail skipping in Montana, and a couple of surprisingly rocky landings in the Tetons, I have not seen any damage other than some very minor topsheet chipping that I’d expect from any ski.

Flex Pattern and Rocker Profile

While it’s easy to expect a super light touring ski to be about as stiff as an overcooked spaghetti noodle, the flex is consistent throughout, the tips are a little softer than the tails, and the ski stiffens up even more underfoot. But there are no real hinge points in the flex pattern.

Overall, the Toors Lite is stiffer than the Kitten Factory All Mountain, and a touch softer than the Volkl V-Werks BMT 109.

The Toors Lite has a pretty traditional rocker / camber / rocker profile. The tail rocker line is subtle, starting about 23 cm from the tail of the ski. Its tip rocker is more pronounced, and is reminiscent of the Blizzard Zero G 108. The Toors Lite is much less rockered than the Volkl BMT 109, or the G3 Synapse 109.

On the Skin Track

The first thing I noticed about the Toors Lite is that it feels stupid light. I started out my first day with the skis on my back for a dry approach in Glacier National Park. I threw the skis on my pack, and I never noticed them over the next few miles.

Cy Whilting reviews the Kitten Factory Toors Lite for Blister Gear Review

Cy Whitling with the Kitten Factory Toors Lite, Glacier National Park, MT. (photo by David Steele)

Once skinning, that feeling remains. With the Fischer Travers Carbon boots, and Dynafit Speed Turn bindings, you’re looking at a svelte 3158 grams per foot, total (without skins), and I definitely noticed that lack of weight over both the ON3P Steeple 102 and the Kitten Factory All Mountain I’d been touring on earlier.

I’ve found that I actually prefer a more centered mount point while making kick turns—there is more tail to have to worry about, but the ski also pivots in a more balanced manner—so the -4 cm mount point was a nice change from some more traditionally mounted skis, like the BMT 109 (-10.4 cm), or the Zero G 108 (-11.1cm).

That centered stance also pays off when ripping skins; I had an easier time ripping the skin all the way off the tip of the ski with my boots still in the bindings.

NEXT: Powder, Firm Crud, Etc.

4 Comments

  1. Blister Member
    Dan April 13, 2016 Reply

    What, no rocker profile shots?

    Nice job Blister Crew, as always. For those in SLC, the Kitten Factory has been doing free Toors Lite demos, mounted with Dynafits, out of their downtown shop. I’m hoping to try them soon for some late season Wasatch spring pow touring

  2. Egika July 30, 2016 Reply

    This review makes me want to try that ski.
    From the bare specs it also looks comparable to the Movement Conquest – a ski that I will try out in NZ over the next weeks.
    I would be interested to see a comparison to or a review of the Conquest here :)

  3. Blister Member
    Dan September 30, 2016 Reply

    Cy, I still am waiting for those rocker profile pics!

    Also, since you’ve skied them all, how about a Toors Lite vs Raven vs Steeple deep dive? Any other touring ski with a mount point around -5 cm that you’d put in the mix?

    I was pretty set on my non-pow touring ski to be the Toors Lite this season, but the preview of the Raven has made me reconsider…

    • Cy Whitling September 30, 2016 Reply

      Good reminder on the rocker pics!

      I like the idea of that Deep Dive! While I personally haven’t been on the Raven (and I need to check the weight on my Steeples), I’m pretty sure that the KF is by far the lightest of the group, and skis like it. It’s certainly less damp and composed than the Steeple, and from what the guys found in NZ, almost certainly less damp/versatile than the Raven. Right now I have Speed Turns on mine and use them as a big days / lots of walking ski, with the KF All Mountain as more of an everyday touring ski. I think that if weight isn’t too big of a deal to you the new Steeple 108 is going to be a great choice, I’ve been blown away at how well my 102’s do in deep snow, as well as more variable conditions. The Raven would be my call if I was going for a slightly narrower touring ski with more of a priority on firm/variable snow.

      Just to throw another ski in the mix, the touring ski I’m most excited about for next year is the Sego Bighorn. It’s a jibby twin with a pretty centered mount at a super competitive weight for a touring ski. I have absolutely zero idea how it skis, but on paper it looks pretty ideal and I’m excited to get on it.

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